When I go home, my childhood home, one of the first things I like to do is shop for seasonal fresh produce. It’s a way for me to join with my two sisters who live there to renew our lifelong love of fresh food. The seasonal produce, the kitchen, the table are all part of reconnecting, to get back in touch with one another. We shadow our mother who harvested herbs from her garden and wilted fresh spinach for a summer salad and relished in family time sitting around the table.
At the small neighborhood grocery far fromWalmart and Target, we find bushel boxes and baskets brimming with fruits and vegetables straight from the gardens of local farms. They’re laden out daily, usually arriving in the backs of farmers’ pickups. On my recent mid-summer visit the grocer’s peaches and peppers catch my eye. There’re melons and squash, okra and green beans but the peaches are a rare find. We fill paper bags with the ripened peaches, fuzzy pink orange summer delights only days from leaving their orchards. We have talked of making gazpacho. Sans tomatoes, avec peaches instead will be fun. The jalapeño peppers are satin green and will be perfect to compliment the juicy peaches in a swirl of gazpacho. We grab a few limes, all we need for the refreshing morning concoction. Days are hot and humid at home and peach gazpacho will be cold tasty hydration.
Back in the kitchen, we get busy. I start chopping while my sisters slice bread and lay out the table. Placed on the cutting board the peaches slice without effort as I halve and quarter them, then quarter again and cube. I begin to fill the Cuisinart with the cut peaches. Their fragrant bouquet takes me back to summer days my sisters and I played jacks on the cool cement of the front porch, only to steal away to my friend’s house across the street for a peach from her family bushel basket stash. I seed the jalapeños after slicing them lengthwise. They’re crisp and chunk perfectly into bits. Their aroma assures a hot depth of flavor added to the sweet juice of the peaches. A generous grinding of pink salt and the juice of a lime finish the gazpacho prep. Securing the top of the Cuisinart I begin to pulse and emulsify the mixture into frothy, sweet and spicy liquid lushness. The gazpacho is soon ready and equally poured over crushed ice, barely melting in the stemmed wine goblets, an elegant upgraded substitution for gazpacho bowls. The French press full of hot coffee is set on the table with a stack of small mugs. The rustic sourdough bought from the Mennonite women at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market is toasted and ready for the smashed avocado smear we’ve thrown together with more lime and peppers. We take our seats at the table and begin to eat and talk.Mother would be happy.